Toxic Beauty - Who's Looking At Cosmetics
Traditionally, cosmetics have not come under a great of scrutiny because it was thought that they did not cause any ill health effects. The belief that our skin was an impervious barrier to externally applied substances was virtually omnipresent for many years until evidence showed that either through sweat glands, hair follicles or the skin itself, chemicals could infiltrate the skin to varying degrees, depending on their molecular size and shape.
Products that are intended to be left on the skin rather than washed away, such as moisturizer and foundation, can penetrate the skin in quite considerable amounts.
Certain chemical constituents in beauty products are known as penetration enhancers (e.g. sodium lauryl sulphate and propylene glycol). These modify the structure of the skin, enhancing is absorption of other chemicals and allowing them to enter the blood stream more rapidly. Penetration enhancers can trigger immune system reaction such as irritation, allergy or inflammation, as well as allowing other more toxic chemicals to be absorbed. Do you really want your moisturizer to aid your skin's absorption of toxic substances found in other cosmetic and household products?
At the moment, however, cosmetic manufacturers don't appear to be particularly concerned about this issue. Instead they are enthusiastically employing nanotechnology, in the form of adding tiny particles or 'nanoparticles' into cosmetic products to transport active ingredients deeper into the skin and increase the production of new cells to 'fight the visible signs of ageing.
Health concerns about such technology have ben prompted because of the potential ability of these miniscule nanoparticles to enter cells or the bloodstream and cause harmful reactions. This has occurred in animal experiments, where nanoparticles have damaged vital organs and DNA, as well as causing lung tumors when inhaled.
Reference: Toxic Beauty : Dawn Mellowship
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